Kristin Martinez, M.A., CCC-SLP, is a Clinical Quality Manager with PresenceLearning. Kristin started her career in 2000 working as an onsite SLP in her local community of Fort Collins, Colorado. In 2013, Kristin expanded her practice to teletherapy and has never looked back. We reached out to her this month for advice and best practices on setting up your teletherapy office.
First, let’s talk about how to set up a teletherapy home office to create a welcoming and engaging environment for the students, parents, and school staff you work with. What are the key elements therapists need to consider in setting up their workspace—from the student perspective?
The primary focus needs to be on creating the best possible visual and auditory environment for both the clinician and the student. Working in a private, quiet space with good lighting is essential. Make sure that you are selecting a space that minimizes any potential background noise and that maximizes light.
Experiment with lighting:
Once you have selected the optimal room or area in which to set up your therapy space, attend to your background! What will students, staff and parents see when they log in? Make it fun, but professional. Avoid visual clutter or items that might actually be distracting for some students. In my teletherapy office, I decorated the wall behind me with a few pieces of artwork given to me by my own children as well as former students—the perfect “office” view for my school-age clients, their teachers, and families!
Next, let’s talk about setting up your office so it really works for you and your workflow.
It can be very tempting when first becoming a teletherapist to schedule back-to-back sessions, five days a week! The kids just come to you! No more driving or running between buildings! While these aspects are tremendous advantages of teletherapy, it is important to remember to create a low-stress home-office environment that supports physical (and mental!) health. Here are a few key features to consider.
Let’s talk about best practices you’ve learned for managing the technology. What equipment is required to conduct successful teletherapy sessions?
Here are some pointers that will help you get off to a smooth and successful start.
And last, what do you love most about working in your teletherapy office?
I appreciate many things about working from home, but specific to my office, I love that I was able to find a space with lots of natural light, and a view of my backyard. I don’t miss the tiny speech-therapy offices (or no offices!) and lack of windows. And I know that many teletherapists have even better views that I do!